7:05pm: The Padres have announced the move, with Johnson’s IL placement being retroactive to April 21.
6:20pm: Padres manager Bob Melvin told reporters, including Dennis Lin of The Athletic, that right-hander Pierce Johnson is going on the injured list with elbow tendinitis. Lefty Ray Kerr will be recalled to take his spot on the roster.
After an excellent stint in Japan in 2019, Johnson was signed by the Padres to a two-year deal with a club option for 2022. Over the 2020 and 2021 seasons, Johnson provided the Friars with 78 2/3 innings, with a 3.09 ERA, 32.1% strikeout rate and 11.1% walk rate. With that quality production, it was a fairly easy decision for the Padres to pick up Johnson’s $3MM option instead of the $1MM buyout. He’s thrown six innings in the young season so far, with 11 strikeouts, four walks and three earned runs. Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune relays word from the club that Johnson had already been battling the issue for a week and the club is hoping for a minimum 10-day absence.
Kerr was an undrafted free agent signee of the Mariners in 2017 and showed enough promise in the minors to be added to the club’s 40-man roster in November. Just over a week later, he was traded to the Padres as part of the Adam Frazier deal. He began his professional career as a two-way player but has focused more on pitching, garnering attention for his ability to reach triple-digit velocity. In 4 2/3 innings in Triple-A so far this year, he’s struck out six but also walked six, leading to four earned runs. He’ll make his major league debut as soon as he gets the call to take the hill. Taylor Rogers and Tim Hill are the other lefties in the bullpen, though Rogers has been serving as the team’s closer since coming over in a trade with the Twins. That means Kerr and Hill will be the two arms available for situations where a southpaw would be preferred.